“Chicago Today is Two Cities”

Lured by a $100 million carrot, a Chicago civic group is ramping up its effort to revive plans for expanded transit service in the bustling and increasingly congested Loop area with a new element: better transit to the Barack Obama library site, too, combined with new investment in housing and jobs on the South Side.

The new proposal comes from the Chicago Central Area Committee, a 60-year-old organization focused on growing and making downtown work better. It’s being disclosed now because CCAC is bidding for an innovative $100 million grant that Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation is offering for the best big idea worldwide. Those applications were due early October, and the foundation is expected to release its short list of finalists soon.

The catalyst is the Obama library, which would be at the east end of the Hyde Park neighborhood in Jackson Park, roughly between 60th and 63rd streets. Right now, the location has only occasional service nearby on Metra’s lakefront Electric Line.

“Chicago today is two cities,” says a CCAC video submitted as part of the MacArthur application. “One buzzing with life and attracting the world’s best and brightest. . . .The other is in need of investment.”

Read the full story at Crain’s Chicago Business.